Last year, those of you who were around back then, witnessed one very important part of my transformation from a big city girl into someone who grows their own food (something not generally associated with big city living). Last year I had my first garden ever, and I have to say that, despite my initial reservations, I think it was a pretty successful endeavor. I am lucky enough to live in a house with a backyard that has space available for gardening (not to mention some existing crops such as rhubarb and raspberries that are up for grabs to the tenants). Additionally, we live across the street from a very well-established and organized community garden, where we had a plot last year and will again this year.
Last year, I planted tomatoes, spinach, hot peppers, swiss chard, beets, broccoli, chives, zucchini, pole beans and some herbs. It was such an incredible feeling to go out to the garden, pick some food, walk back home, wash it, and cook it up right away (see this post about the first zucchini I picked). I also had my first experience with preserving food (both canning and freezing), which I hope to do even more of this summer and fall. Growing your own food is satisfying in a way that I think few other things in life are. It speaks to our historical desires to be self-sufficient at the same time as it builds community (especially when you're participating in a community garden like we do). And in a world where just about everything that you buy relies on petroleum (if nothing else then for the transportation of the goods), it's so satisfying to cut that factor out of the equation entirely and feel like, yes, we really can do something (however small) to change this world.
And I do believe that it is the small things in life that will, in the end, make all the big differences. Every choice that we make, whether it's growing our own food or shopping at a farmer's market, riding bikes more, using biodiesel when we have to drive, buying used goods, spending money on quality products that will last long and won't end up in the junkyard in six months, all of these choices that we can make, that I make (I'll stop talking for everyone else here) are very liberating. And gardening is one of my favorites of these choices.
I've started my seeds for this year's garden and the broccolis are already sprouting after just a few days. It will be very exciting to remember how things worked last year and try to improve on that experience. I did my best to keep a gardening journal last summer, so I would remember things (like when the first ripe tomatoes were ready and how often I watered everything) but I can already see that I'm wishing I had been more detailed. Okay, another lesson for year number two. You can re-read (or read for the first time) some of my posts from last year's gardening adventures here. And don't worry, there's much more to come this year.
PS: Thank you all so so much for your encouraging comments on my jumper. I was quite pleased with my work, and I know there will be more of my own clothing creations in the future. It's so wonderful to feel so nervous about trying something, and then, when it turns out successfully, to have such an incredibly supportive group of people there to share it with. Thank. You.